Tourism is recognized globally as a vital contributor and mechanism for poverty alleviation, job creation, socio-economic growth and environmental protection. In Africa, this couldn’t be more true.
At Natural Selection we take this responsibility seriously. We recognize that tourism operations are vital to many livelihoods in and around wildlife areas, and the abrupt decline in tourism revenue, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has the potential for far reaching impacts on communities. This is particularly the case in woman-headed households and single income households, of which there are many in the Natural Selection family. And the virus itself could have a devastating impact on these communities where there are very high rates of HIV.
In Botswana and Namibia, 8.9% and 15.7% of the population respectively are employed by the tourism sector. One employed person typically supports between five and seven other people.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, global travel bans and the temporary closure of many safari camps across the region, this is a time to be mindful of the vulnerability of communities living alongside wildlife areas. Over the last three years, 1.5% of every guest’s stay in our camps has gone towards community and conservation projects. Combined with the direct contributions that our camps make to local community outreach, this amounts to nearly 1 million USD of committed funds. For the first time, we are reaching out to former guests, African enthusiasts, agents, friends and relatives to bolster our resources via the Natural Selection Foundation and help support the thousands of livelihoods that will be affected by the temporary closure of our camps.
The COVID-19 Village Support program will be transporting food parcels to remote villages to improve the nourishment of communities in the face of this unprecedented viral threat. Furthermore, our Elephant Express buses will be on the road along the panhandle of the Okavango Delta assisting people with access to clinics via dangerous elephant corridors. Your support in this unprecedented initiative is welcome and cherished.
In addition to delivering food parcels to remote villages during this difficult, Natural Selection has partnered with Coaching Conservation to provide local people with the critical information they need to stay safe and healthy during the pandemic. Click on the icon below to download the Coronavirus Survival Kit, which is being distributed to villages throughout Southern Africa in both English and several different local languages:
The Natural Selection Foundation is a US registered 501c3 charity.Support This Project